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Jazz of the past, present and future.

Jazz of the past, present and future.
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Jazz of the past, present and future.




(413) 585-5100


Podcast 676: Spirituality

It seems that most of the world’s religions have spring holidays. In fact, celebrating the beginning of spring may be among the oldest seasonal holidays in human culture. The earliest reference we have to such a holiday comes to us from Babylon, 2400 BCE. The city of Ur apparently had a celebration dedicated to the moon and the spring equinox which was held some time during our months of March or April. For Christianity, today is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, culminating in the...


Podcast 675: A Conversation with Mark Guiliana

With the release of Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! today, drummer/composer Mark Guiliana pushes further than ever against the boundaries of musical classification. Is it jazz? Is it electronica? Is it progressive rock? More importantly – does it matter what we call it? The latest Beat Music product from Guiliana builds on the strengths of his twin releases in 2014, My Life Starts Now and Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations. On those albums Mark skillfully used the vocabulary...


Podcast 674: A Conversation with Yotam Silberstein

Podcast 674 is a long overdue conversation with Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein. Since he was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Guitar Competition in 2005, Yotam has shown himself to be more than just another guitar ace, but also a top interpreter of the music of South America, most notably Brazil. With the release of The Village last year, he seemed ready to show that he could handle any facet of jazz with intelligence, wit and style. Future Memories shows this was...


Podcast 673: A Conversation with John Patitucci

As a purely amateur electric bass player, one of my heroes is John Patitucci. The Brooklyn-born bass player has been at the top of the electric bass and acoustic double bass call list for some 35 years now, and in the process has become part of legendary groups. He has released 14 albums under his own name as leader, and participated on dozens of others, including albums with Al Di Meola, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, Edward Simon, Lee Ritenour, and Kurt Elling. However, Patitucci will...


Podcast 672: A Conversation with Etienne Charles

The SFJazz Collective continues to be one of the most accomplished and exciting larger ensembles performing and recording in jazz today. An octet, the group operates democratically, choosing songs and arrangements together, rather than following a bandleader. Given that the current Collective lineup is made up of ALL bandleaders - Miguel Zenon, David Sanchez, Etienne Charles, Robin Eubanks, Warren Wolf, Edward Simon, Matt Brewer, and Obed Calvaire – that’s probably for the best. The...


Podcast 671: A Conversation with Quiana Lynell

‘Who are you, where have you been, and why am I just hearing you now?’ That question seems to be a common thread running through the rising career of singer Quiana Lynell. A transplanted New Orleans resident via Texas, her musical world was strictly gospel music until she attended school in Louisiana. She earned her degree in Vocal Performance, concentrating on classical music. Expanding her musical horizons, she worked the New Orleans scene while keeping her day job at AT&T, and then...


Podcast 670: A Conversation with Alicia Olatuja

With the release of Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women, Alicia Olatuja has raised the bar once again on what she might offer the music world. Since she caused a commotion as a featured vocalist at Barak Obama’s Second Inauguration in 2013, she has released two CDs, including the exceptional debut album Timeless; and toured consistently, including being an anchor of Billy Childs’ Laura Nyro project and Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Songs of Freedom project. The new CD, which comes on the heels...


Podcast 669: Go to the Mardi Gras

A brief history of the Mardi Gras celebration, courtesy of a hotel blog post: Mardi Gras was first brought to New Orleans by French settlers in 1699. The first party was recorded to been held at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Later accounts of celebrations in New Orleans in the 1700s include mention of music, cross-dressing, music and masks. The inclusion of parades years later became a big part of the celebrations. In 1856, New Orleans' first “krewe”, the Mystic Krewe of Comus, was...


Podcast 668: A Conversation with Ulysses Owens Jr

Performer! Producer! Musical Director! Arranger! Composer! Educator! Ulysses Owens Jr checks all the boxes as he continues to develop and grow his career in jazz. Since his graduation from Juilliard as a member of its jazz inaugural class in 2001, he has been in demand as drummer and musical director. You are likely familiar with his contributions to recordings with Christian McBride’s Trio and Big Band, the latter of which won him his second Grammy Award. His first Grammy came in 2010 for...


Podcast 667: A Conversation with Branford Marsalis

No album title in recent memory was more to the point than the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s 2012 release Four MFs Playin’ Tunes. That CD was filled with the kind of great give and take that only musicians steeped in tradition, and heady enough to work off and with each other could make. The core of the band – Saxophonist Marsalis, bassist Eric Revis and pianist Joey Calderazzo – has been together for more than twenty years, while drummer Justin Faulkner just celebrated a decade with the...


Podcast 666: A Conversation with Joey DeFrancesco

I first fell in love with the music of Joey DeFrancesco twenty years ago, when I booked him on an epic Organ Summit triple bill with the late Charles Earland and Dr. Lonnie Smith for the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. What an evening that was! Significantly younger than the other greats sharing the stage that night, he more than held his own, and seemed as excited as any fan in attendance to be part of a very special event. Since then, DeFrancesco has perhaps done more than anyone to...


Podcast 665: A Conversation with Cyrille Aimee

Almost exactly two years ago, I spoke with French singer Cyrille Aimee about her second album for Mack Avenue, Let’s Get Lost. It had been recorded with her long-time collaborators, the Surreal Band, and carved out a spot for her as a new voice to be reckoned with on the jazz scene. Fast forward two years, and like most artists worth their salt, Cyrille has grown and changed. Breaking with the band, she moved to New Orleans, began participating in the Scene, and immersed herself in the...


Podcast 664: "In A Silent Way" at 50 with Ashley Kahn

Fifty years ago today – February 18, 1969 - Miles Davis and a group of musicians entered Columbia Studio B in New York City for a three hour session that eventually became his first true “electric album”, In A Silent Way. It’s fair to say that the album remains one of the most startling and influential jazz albums of all time, one of the first times that electric instruments met truly adventurous jazz musicians, and the resulting music was manipulated by the nascent studio technology of...


Podcast 663: A Conversation with Larry Grenadier, Part Two

This is Part Two of my conversation with bass great Larry Grenadier. Part One was primarily about the release of his first solo bass album, The Gleaners on ECM Records. This podcast allows me to get into some stories about the many great recordings and bands he has played with over the past thirty years. For most of his career, Grenadier has been one third of the Brad Mehldau Trio, first with Jorge Rossy and now with Jeff Ballard. This piano trio returned “The Art of the Trio” to the jazz...


Podcast 662: A Conversation with Larry Grenadier, Part One

If you make a list of the top bass players in the business today, Larry Grenadier needs to be at, or near, the never top. A consummate sideman, he has been an important member of a who’s who of bands over his more than three decade career. From early days as a prodigy playing with sax icons Joe Henderson and Stan Getz to what has been decades performing alongside pianist Brad Mehldau; from extended experiences working with the likes of Paul Motian, Charles Lloyd and Pat Metheny to...


Podcast 661: Music for Valentine's Day 2019

This year, I’ve decided to post my annual Valentine’s Day podcast a few days early, so you can have time to get in the mood. Heaven knows it’s a little harder these days, with the state of the world seemingly going toward hate rather than love. Curious about the origins of Valentine’s Day as a day to publicly celebrate romance? Check this out: The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love...


Podcast 660: A Conversation with Pedro Martins

The connections between guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Pedro Martins is the stuff of movie scripts. Growing up in Brazil, Martins studied Rosenwinkel’ s recordings. A chance meeting with his idol shortly thereafter pushed Pedro to continue his jazz studies. In 2015, Martins participated in the Socar Guitar Competition at the 49th Montreux Jazz Festival which was judged by – Kurt Rosenwinkel. Winning the top prize, the two promised to stay in touch. When Rosenwinkel began his Brazilia...


Podcast 659: Joshua Redman @ 50

Much like was said about Bruce Springsteen 15 years earlier, it sometimes seems that if Joshua Redman had not existed, the jazz press would have had to make him up. The story is too perfect – the son of noted African-American jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer/librarian Renee Shedroff who was, the daughter of Polish Immigrant Jews, picks up the clarinet and saxophone before his tenth birthday, and excels at both. He listens to earth, Wind & Fire and Led Zeppelin as often as he hears...


Podcast 658: A Conversation with Ben Wendel

The story of The Seasons, Ben Wendel’s fine CD released late last year, is absolutely fascinating. It’s a story of artistic discovery and whimsy, and it ends with a top-notch band playing top-notch music. It begins in 2015, when saxophonist-bassoonist-composer Wendel heard a set of twelve piano pieces written and released in a music magazine each month by Tchaikovsky in 1876. Inspired by this idea of subscription oriented art, he composed and released twelve original jazz chamber duets –...


Podcast 657: A Conversation with Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez

After pianist Alfredo Rodriguez arranged to get percussion master Pedrito Martinez to appear on a few tracks of his 2014 Mack Avenue release The Invasion Parade, it seemed inevitable that they would collaborate further. Both born and raised in Cuba, Pedrito is a decade older than Alfredo, but they displayed a natural feel for playing together, and bring out the best in one another. Duologue is the album that shows just how much the two can do together. Stripping things down to just the pair,...